Italy Parade and Christmas Festival

Image: Santa and Mrs. Claus made an appearance

Santa and Mrs. Claus made an appearance (Natalie Barrett)

It’s finally beginning to look a lot like Christmas after Saturday’s Christmas parade and festival! The biting cold did not deter many, as folks gathered to enjoy the parade, entertainment, raffle and tasty treats.

The parade was populated with our city officials, to include our mayor and his lovely wife, police chief, and firefighters. The Italy High School band marched, though without their usual complicated formations, as did the cheerleaders and other student groups.

Following the parade, a special appearance was made by Ryan “Birdman” Parrott, the parade grand marshal. Mr. Parrott is a veteran Navy Seal who now serves as an advocate for individuals with disabilities. In his honor, Mayor Hobbs awarded him with a “Key to our City,” after which Mr. Parrott requested a moment of silence for the troops currently serving overseas. Reverend Joseph Barrett concluded this portion of the event with a prayer.

There were several outstanding musical performances that occupied the afternoon. First, an ensemble from Italy High School Band performed a medley of Christmas songs under the direction of assistant band director David Graves. Later, Pastor Joseph Barrett performed a solo act in addition to playing in an ensemble with banjo touting Ed Norman and the Djembe (an African drum) played by Brett Kirton. The musical aspect of the festival was concluded with Barrett and Kirton performing as a duo.

Though the hot chocolate, music, gifts and food were all enticing, the door prizes gathered a particularly expectant crowd! Carefully watching their tickets and hoping their number would be called, people huddled closely to see if they might win an extra gift this year.

Though the event had been postponed from last weekend’s original schedule, the city responded well despite the still cold temperatures. Everyone bundled up and gathered under the pavilion to celebrate the excitement of the season. It was a well-planned event that once again welcomed the spirit of Christmas into Italy.